Duke Energy says it won’t pay liability claims related to December rolling blackouts

CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy has decided not to pay liability claims from its customers who were affected by the outages the company instated at the end of December.

Last month, Duke Energy turned off power ahead of a cold blast that arrived the week of Christmas. The blackouts came as a surprise to many customers.

Later, in a statement, Duke Energy said it had less power available over the Christmas weekend than it had originally estimated, which led to the decision to instate the rolling blackouts.

The utility company apologized to its customers in early January.

“We are sorry for what our customers experienced,” said Julie Janson, executive vice president and CEO of Duke Energy Carolinas. “We regret not being able to provide customers as much advance notice as we would have liked, and acknowledge that the outages themselves lasted far longer than we first expected.”

Investigative reporter Madison Carter has been digging into the company’s service contract, which protects Duke from liability due to natural weather events. However, the contract says nothing about intentional outages.

After Carter discovered this loophole, Duke told Channel 9 weeks ago it would evaluate claims related to losses during the outages.

But on Friday, Carter learned the claims have all been denied.

A Duke spokesperson recommended customers file a claim with FEMA or their insurance.

“We typically do not approve claims related to extreme weather outages. But we did want to gather more information on the event as part of our review. After completing that review, we denied those claims,” the spokesperson said. “We do recommend customers check with and submit a claim to their insurance carrier and/or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) regarding any loss claims related to power outages from the extreme weather conditions of Winter Storm Elliott.”


(WATCH BELOW: Duke Energy steps up security after Moore County power grid attack)

Madison Carter

Madison Carter, wsoctv.com

Madison is an investigative reporter and anchor for Channel 9.